Hundreds of demonstrators in SoCal rally in support of Indian farmers

Local news

Traffic came to a screeching halt in Los Angeles’ Fairfax District on Sunday, due to a convoy of vehicles demonstrating in solidarity with farmers in India who are fighting against new agricultural policies that many fear will harm farmers’ profits in the country.

Near the intersection of Beverly Boulevard and Stanley Avenue, a parade of vehicles were filled with passengers hanging out of car windows and springing up from sunroofs with signs and shouting, “No Farmers, No Food!”

“‘No farmer, no foods’ means if you kill the farmer who’s going to be growing the food?” said Ravinder Singh, who attended the Sunday car rally at the Fairfax District. “It’s the middle class people who are going to grow the food.”

Farmers in India have been protesting against new agriculture laws that deregulate crop pricing, allowing private buyers more free rein in a marketplace that has long been dominated by government subsidies. 

These new policies scrap the standard farming traditions of selling produce at wholesale markets for minimum assured crop prices, and rather create a more open system, allowing produce to be sold widely and to big corporations.

Farmers say the laws will lead the government to stop buying grain at minimum guaranteed prices and result in exploitation by corporations that will push down prices, the Associated Press reported.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government says the reforms will benefit farmers, since the new laws would allow them to market their own produce and boost production through private investments, AP reported. But farmers say they were never consulted.

For more than two weeks, hundreds of thousands of farmers have been protesting outside India’s capital of New Delhi, blocking many of the main arteries into the city.

Support for the farmers extended worldwide, including Southern California.

In Buena Park, hundreds of protesters in their cars drove in a massive car rally to Artesia early Sunday afternoon to protest the new agricultural laws in India.

Organizers estimate that 300 to 400 protesters’ cars formed a phalanx of vehicles, as they drove from the Sikh Temple in Buena Park to a park in Artesia, honking horns and waving signs.

Jaspal Singh of the Gurdwara Singh Sabha Sikh Temple in Buena Park said people are rallying to show solidarity with the farmers in India.

“We are against this law, which is killing the farmers. They are working very hard day and night,” Singh said. “I am speechless. … Hundreds of thousands are protesting in Delhi right now, but the government of India they will never see our protest. They never see anything. It’s a shame.”

Dr. Amrit Singh, who helped coordinate and organize the Buena Park rally, said the farmers and supporters have been protesting for weeks in New Delhi because the new laws not only impact agricultural workers directly, but also consumers globally.

“All the people, not only the farmers, all the people — consumers, levelers, shop keeps will be affected,” said Dr. Singh, who works as a cardiologist. “That’s why these laws have to be taken back.”

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